You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint.
You wouldn’t cook a new dish without a recipe.
You wouldn’t take a road trip without a map.
Why should your fundraising be any different?
Trust me when I say ‘spray and pray’ is NOT an effective strategy for raising money. You can’t throw something out to the whole community and hope that someone responds. You need a carefully planned strategy, especially if you are committed to the lives you serve.
Everyone I’ve ever talked to about planning knows they need one. So why don’t more people create and use a plan?
“It takes just as much time to wish as it does to plan” Eleanor Roosevelt
I think there are several reasons people don’t plan. See if any of these sound familiar.
- “I don’t have time.” Many fundraisers are too busy, doing all kinds of things that chew up their day, leaving them no time to think or strategize.
- “I don’t know where to start.” Most people need to have a framework to work within. They can’t visualize where to start without some guidance. A sample would be very helpful!
- “I’ll be fine. I’ll figure it out as I go.” This was me. I was sure I could handle anything that popped up along the way. The problem was that this left me in reactive mode all the time, which was not a good place to raise money from.
- “I’ll just do what I’ve always done.” If you’re happy with the results you’ve gotten in the past, this is fine. But if you want to raise more money, you’ve GOT to think differently, and you need a plan to navigate new waters.
The best time to create a fundraising plan is yesterday. The second best time is today.
I know you’re super busy, and carving out time can be a problem. But you MUST if you really want to raise more money. Actually, it’s the ONLY way you’re going to raise more money.
So, where do you start?
Every good fundraising plan begins with the result you want. You need to know
- How much money you want to raise
- How many donors you want to renew
- How many new donors you want to acquire
Once you have your goals set, it’s time to choose strategies. Decide what works best for you in your situation, and commit to it. I like to see organizations going after grants, doing one good special event (ONE!), and then focusing on individual donors through a combination of mail, email, and face-to-face asks. Again, pick what works for you, not what the nonprofit down the street is doing.
As you plan for the individual strategies you want to use, get clear about
- How it will work
- Why you want to do it
- The outcome you want
- The resources you’ll need
- How much time it will take
- Who will see it through to completion
- How you’ll evaluate success
Put it all in writing. If it’s not documented, it’s not real.
“A vision without a plan is just a hallucination.”
And that, my friends, is how you do a quick-and-dirty fundraising plan.